Archive for May, 2015

THE FIRE OF GOD (Pt. 3)

“These are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh’”.(Acts 2:15-17 NKJV)

The words of Peter, first spoken on the Day of Pentecost, were like a thunderclap or lightening bolt right in the midst of the mocking crowd. He who had come from heaven as a gracious, prophetic fulfillment of God’s promise to His people caught the crowd by surprise! It left many amused. Others mocked. Little did they realize, that the fire of God had come to melt their cold, religious, indifferent hearts. But, for those waiting, the fire of God rapidly fell UPON them, WITHIN them, and AROUND them. And, like a bonfire, it quickly spread.

DO YOU WANT HIS FIRE?

Be sure of what you are asking for. When the fire of God comes, it will first burn up the stubble of pride and religious hypocrisy. It will mean a fresh baptism of love, leading to forgiveness and reconciliation. The fire of God will also ignite a new passion for prayer. And people will begin to insist on a holy word from a Holy God, spoken through the holy lips of holy vessels.   Remember, it is the refiner’s flame that reduces and melts what it touches in order that it maybe purified to be molded into something new and useful. It is no coincidence, that God closed the last book of the Hebrew prophets with these words, “““Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” Says the LORD of hosts. “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire And like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the LORD an offering in righteousness.”(Malachi 3:1-3 NKJV) God was not interested in the precious metals of silver and gold. He was concerned about the precious souls in His house who were not prepared to meet a holy God.

 FRUIT INSPECTORS

Be warned! Where there is Holy Spirit fire, there is bound to be the smoke of controversy. Every true move of God, throughout Church History, has had its detractors. Some will feel uncomfortable when God shows up in the demonstration of the Spirit’s power. And they will (often in ignorance) openly oppose what they do not understand. They forget the words of Paul, that teach us how to remain, spiritually open but not spiritually gullible. “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophesies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”(1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 NKJV) The gifts of the Holy Spirit may always be discerned by the fruit of the Holy Spirit manifest. Jesus taught, “A tree is known by its fruit”. (Matthew 7:20)

GRACIOUS GIFT

Pentecost reminds us of the gracious gift from our heavenly Father. Jesus taught, ““If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!””(Luke 11:13 NKJV)

On the Day of Pentecost, the fire of God fell upon waiting hearts to confirm that God was making no distinction between Jew and Gentile sinners. For both, He was “purifying their hearts by faith”(Acts 15:9 NKJV). The Holy Spirit’s fire fell to comfort the saints and convict the backslidden of their need to return to God. The promised Holy Spirit was a new thing that God was doing in the earth; it was no longer relegated to a few specially selected individuals. But was available to all who called on Jesus by faith. And so, it is true today, “Whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved”. (Acts 2:21 NKJV)

© Copyright 2015, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

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THE FIRE OF GOD(pt. 2)

THE FIRE OF GOD(Pt. 2)
In the Book of Acts, Chapter 2, Luke writes, “When the day of Pentecost had fully come.”(Acts 2:1a). It was the official day of the Feast of Pentecost, in keeping with the Jewish calendar. This was to commemorate the children of Israel receiving the TORAH. Moses was given God’s word for Israel, officially inaugurating their new identity as His own special people. This day was not featureless, as if it was just any other day. They were never to forget the way God came to them on this day. It was a “Lights and Sounds Show”!  God descends in a cloud of fire and smoke; a loud, repeated blast of a ram’s horn; and a mountain shaking before them like an earthquake.  God had their attention because He had something to say and wanted to be heard.
ACTS 2
Fast forward, and we read of similar phenomenon, “When the day of Pentecost was fully come”(Acts 2).  For thousands of Jewish pilgrims, it was as it were a “Light and sound Show”. “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”(‭Acts‬ ‭2‬:‭1-4‬ NKJV)
Just as on the original Day of Pentecost, when through the many phenomenon, God got their attention,speaking to them as His people, so God spake His word through the Apostle Peter. His message was not only intended to arouse their senses; the words preached were directed to their heart and their conscience. “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words…. this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.’ “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it….This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear….Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (‭Acts‬ ‭2‬:‭14, 16-24, 32-33, 36‬ NKJV)
This message preached, in the fiery baptism of the Holy Spirit could not help but produce results. Three thousand Jewish people immediately believed and behaved as if they believed. “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”Acts‬ ‭2‬:‭41-42‬ NKJV)
The sign of the three thousand turning from the kingdom darkness to the kingdom of light was not the external fire produced but rather hearts ignited by the Holy Spirit’s fire. It was the fire of “the love of God shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit.”(Romans 5:5b). They were a new community of lovers; Lovers of God through Jesus their Messiah; lovers of His Word and lovers of His/their new family.
One of the great miracles at Pentecost was that through the fire of God we learn to love people we didn’t think we could like! Where there is the fire of God, it will melt cold hearts.
(c) Copyright 2015, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

THE FIRE OF GOD(Pt.1)

“But Nadab and Abihu died when they offered strange and unholy fire before the Lord.”(Numbers 26:61 AMP)

This verse follows the beginning of the generations of the Levites.  The Levites were given a special designation and honor among the tribes of Israel to minister on behalf of the people in the presence of God.

 Two of Aaron, the high priest’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, did not value their position and calling among the priesthood. Although being designated to minister the holy things of God, they offered “strange fire” before the Lord. The fire of God broke forth upon them and they died in the presence of God. What a tragedy.  What should have been the beginning of one of the most awesome privileges ,for any human being, was spoiled by death.

NADAB

The root word for Nadab is “to volunteer or offer free will offerings”.  He clearly did not live up to his potential.  Rather than minister out of a heart of gratitude and love for God, he along with his brother, decided to bring unauthorized fire into the presence of God. This resulted not as a blessing but rather as a curse.

Sad to say, many, today, do not take their gifts and calling seriously. There is a lack of the fear of God. It is no light matter to have the privilege to come into the presence of God and minister in His holy name.

This was a such a serious matter that, later, the Lord designates a special inheritance blessing for those who have faithfully served Him. Regarding this reward ,He declares through the prophet Ezekiel, “It shall be for the priests of the sons of Zadok, who are sanctified, who have kept My charge, who did not go astray when the children of Israel went astray, as the Levites went astray” (Ezekiel 48:11).  The Hebrew root meaning for Zadok is “righteous”.  It is a foreshadowing of a new priestly order which Jesus the Messiah inaugurated.  “For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually…Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron?…For He testifies: “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 7:1-3, 11, 17 NKJV)

God announced that He is doing something new in the earth. A new and faithful priesthood.  John records, by revelation, that as believers in Jesus Christ, we are a part of the new priestly order in the earth. “From Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 1:5-6 NKJV)  The new order of priesthood is the Melchizedek order; a King-Priest order in the earth.

BEWARE OF PRESUMPTION

As we approach the Feast of Pentecost, let us reflect upon Aaron’s two sons death.  Both Nadab and Abihu died due to the sin of religious presumption.  They made light of the God who had called them to serve Him.  The apostle Peter admonishes that God commands his people, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16 NKJV)

FROM DEATH TO LIFE

In Isaiah Chapter 6, we have a contrasting story to that of Nadab and Abihu.  Isaiah experienced this in the year that King Uzziah died. The death of an earthly king, along with an empty throne of power, prepared him to lift his eyes higher to the heavenly throne and the thrice holy God.  At first, Isaiah, was undone by his own spiritual condition. Then he became acutely aware that this was the same condition of his own people. Isaiah’s cries out to God, confessing his own sinfulness. Immediately, God sends an angelic being, a Seraph, with a red-hot coal from the altar, touching and cleansing his lips.  From now on,they were no longer Isaiah’s lips to use as He pleased. They now would only be used for the Lord.

FROM PRIEST TO PROPHET

Isaiah was ready to fulfill his God-given destiny and purpose.  Before,he had been a priest, ministering on behalf of the PEOPLE before the Lord.  Now he would minister to the people in behalf of GOD, saying, “Thus says the Holy One of Israel”.

Like Isaiah, if you have encountered the thrice-holy God, you must get rid of any “strange” and “unauthorized” fire in your midst. When you do, you will know that you have been touched by the fire of God’s love.  You will also know that you have been touched with the coal of the fellowship of a burning heart.  From now on, things will only be said or done for the glory and honor of His Holy name. 

(c) Copyright 2015, Walter Fletcher Jr.  All rights reserved.  This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content.  Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com